Institutt for biovitenskap (BIO)


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Mesocosm experiment facilities



Learn more about mesocosms on the MESOCOSM web site.

See the Facilities in the Slide Show Tour of the Station

Mesocosm Laboratory

The most outstanding feature at the station is the Mesocosm Laboratory, which has been appointed as the National Mesocosm Centre by the Research Council of Norway. The centre has been designed for large-scale experimental work on primary and secondary production and consists of enclosed water masses with volumes between 2 and 30 m3 whose physical, chemical and biological parameters can be manipulated in a semi natural environment. Typical mesocosm experiments last for 3-6 weeks and are usually carried out by interdisciplinary teams.

The Station was a key installation in the Bergen Marine Food Chain Research Infrastructure. Through a series of EU contracts under the 4th and 5th Framework Programmes, Bergen Marine (earlier called Bergen LSF) has given access to more than 200 scientists form 80 research institutions in 15 countries during 1996-2003, funding more than 100 projects which have resulted in hundreds of scientific contributions. BIO researchers have developed the MESOCOSM web site.

The National Mesocosm Centre includes a floating mesocosm laboratory and a land-based mesocosm system. Both units have water quality regulating devices and access to continuous water supply from the surface or from 40 m depth. Instruments for monitoring environmental factors are also available: Light recorder (Li-Cor sea and land sensor with data logging appliance) and OTS recorder (Sea Bird Instr.)

for more information, please contact Espeland

floating mesocosm unit

The floating mesocosm unit consists of a raft located at about 200 m from the shore, to which the enclosures are attached, and a small laboratory/ control room. The enclosures consist of polyethylene bags (transmitting 90 % of the PAR) supported by floating frames. They can be filled and continuously supplied with water from the surface or from 40 m depth.

The floating mesocosm is equipped with:
- 8 frames for enclosures with 1 m diameter,
- 6 frames for enclosures with 2 m diameter,
- electric supply ,
- 2 pumps for water supply to the enclosures,
- air lifts for water circulation enhancement

for more information, please contact Espeland

land-based mesocosm unit

The land-based mesocosm unit is especially suitable for experiments where physical control, e.g. turbulence, is required. It is also suitable for other pelagic experiments dealing with the lower trophic levels not requiring large sample volumes.

The land based mesocosm unit consists of:
- 12 fiberglass tanks (width: 1.5 m; height: 1.5 m)
- 4 fiberglass tanks (width: 5 m; height: 1.5 m) .

Four small tanks can be placed inside one of the larger ones. This functions as a water bath, and running water in the outer tank can provide customised daily temperature fluctuations. The tanks can be filled with sea water from 40 m, from the surface, or with fresh water.

For more information, please contact Espeland.